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Rideau Canal
Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal, Ottawa, K1N 8S7

The Basics

Ottawa visitors will almost certainly encounter the Rideau Canal at some point during their trip, as the waterway cuts right through the heart of Canada’s capital city and is visible from Parliament Hill. Bike tours of the city often follow the Rideau Canal Pathways, which extend along both sides of the canal, and many walking tours include a visit to the canal’s edge. You can also embark on Rideau Canal sightseeing cruises, or join a kayak or canoe excursion. In winter, rent skates and glide around the vast, well-maintained Rideau Canal Skateway, formed by a cordoned-off part of the canal.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Ottawa

star-5
Great time!
Traci_D, Oct 2021
Rideau Canal Cruise
The stories were great! Our guide had a spunky attitude and did a great job. She was awesome! Scenery was beautiful! Just a little chilly
star-5
What a treat!
Liesje_W, Oct 2021
Rideau Canal Cruise
Delightful hostess and snack mistress. And how can one not love the Rideau. How beautiful in contrast to the city centre of grey.
star-5
Nice plan
Bebsabe_D, Sep 2021
Rideau Canal Cruise
It was a very nice experience. Something quiet and relaxing. The tour was hosted in English and French and the information about the history of the canal and surroundings is very nice. Definitely worthy.
star-5
Great experience
Catherine_C, Aug 2021
Rideau Canal Cruise
Our tour guide was informative and amusing. We loved his story about the eel in the Rideau Canal. Well done!
star-4
It was not easy finding the place where to wait for the cruise. We met other people along the way also struggling.
Sylvia_M, Sep 2021
Rideau Canal Cruise
The person speaking was loud and clear and enjoyable to listen to. Learnt a lot and enjoyed the ride.
star-5
Totally worth Going on!
Debbie_S, Sep 2021
Rideau Canal Cruise
Very relaxing and scenic. Our guide did a great job especially being her first day! She was funny and knowledgeable
star-5
Amazing Rideau Canal Tour
Jeff_N, Aug 2021
Rideau Canal Cruise
Brennan made this hour and a half cruise down the Rideau Canal a very pleasant time and great memory. His theatrical approach to sharing information and his off the wall sense of humour made this the best tour in Ottawa.
star-5
fun cruise
Saudat_A, Sep 2021
Rideau Canal Cruise
Listening to the tour guide Brennan made the trip more fun. The story of the eel was the most memorable
star-4
Very nice calm tour, some interesting history from very good guide. Light and enjoyable.
jacques_d, Aug 2021
Rideau Canal Cruise
It was a beautiful day, very nice calm tour down the rideau canal. Some very nice views. Excellent tour guide kept the tour interesting, light and fun. Not the most spectacular sites, but a very pleasant experience all around. Keep expectations not too high and you'll enjoy it!
star-4
River cruise
Judy, Sep 2021
Rideau Canal Cruise
Very pleasant, relaxing river cruise. More explicit directions needed to find the boat. We found it tricky and got there on the nick of time. I would recommend taking it.
star-5
Wonderful
Nigina, Sep 2021
Rideau Canal Cruise
This tour had the funniest guide I ever encountered! He spoke both English and French and he could be very easily a professional comedy actor. Was great to see someone with so much passion for what they do. Tour was very informative and was great to learn boat is using electric power which makes it sustainable for the environment.
star-5
Great afternoon tour!
Maureen_G, Aug 2021
Rideau Canal Cruise
We had a wonderful time… a great blend of information and fun entertainment. This tour was suitable for young and old.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Bike and boat tours on the canal run from May through October.

  • If you’re going in winter, bundle up, as temperatures frequently drop below freezing.

  • Fishing is allowed on some parts of the waterway, including Dow’s Lake. An Ontario fishing permit and outdoors card are required.

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How to Get There

If you’re staying in downtown Ottawa, the best way to reach the canal is on foot. From Ottawa’s main train station, ride the 61 bus. Alternatively, a taxi from the station will take 15 to 20 minutes.

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When to Get There

Ottawa’s peak visiting periods are January, February, and June to August. Even during its busiest times, the canal rarely feels crowded. If you want to see it at its most peaceful, go early in the morning.

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Rideau Canal Skateway

Every winter, a 4.8-mile (7.8-kilometer) stretch of the frozen Rideau Canal transforms into an open-air ice-skating rink. Designated the world’s largest naturally frozen skate rink by the Guinness World Records, the hugely popular Rideau Canal Skateway attracts an average of 20,000 visitors per day. The skating season’s length and dates vary according to weather conditions, but typically the rink is open from January to the end of February or early March. You can rent skates from canal-side huts, some of which also sell hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and BeaverTails, a fried-dough pastry topped with cinnamon and sugar.

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